A controlled drug buy led to the arrest of five individuals and the discovery of three bricks of heroin and multiple illegal firearms, police said.
Angeline Marie Gority, 28, 2919 W. Chestnut Ave., and Gregory Michael Robertson II, 26, 120 Crawford Ave., were taken into custody at 7:21 p.m. Friday in a controlled heroin buy, according to Altoona police.
Gority and Robertson were each charged with possession of illegal drugs, conspiracy and criminal use of a communication facility.
Police said the pair purchased the heroin from Steven Douglas Hamilton, 32, of Shand Avenue. Police obtained search warrants for Hamilton and another alleged supplier, Steven Weyant, no age or address given, and tracked both individuals down Friday night.
"These are people who have been distributing major amounts of heroin daily in our city," after bringing in the drugs from outside of Altoona, Detective Sgt. Troy Johannides said.
The four individuals were identified as dealers who helped to move anywhere from three to 10 bricks of heroin through the city daily, Johannides said. The investigation is ongoing and more arrests connected to the distribution rings are expected, he said.
A search of Hamilton's car uncovered three bricks of heroin, which each contain 50 individual doses, Johannides said.
Police arrested a fifth individual, Alex Rodriguez Sr., no age or address given, while serving an arrest warrant at Weyant's residence. Rodriguez was charged with possession of a prohibited firearm after four firearms were recovered at the residence, police said.
"We don't believe [Rodriguez] to be involved in the drug distribution," Johannides said.
Rodriguez is Weyant's stepfather, Johannides said. No drugs were uncovered in the search of their shared residence.
The individuals were arraigned by on call Magisterial District Judge Todd F. Kelly Saturday morning.
Gority and Hamilton were jailed on $40,000 bail, Blair County Prison officials said. Robertson and Weyant were jailed on $50,000 bail, officials said.
All four individuals remained incarcerated as of Saturday night. Rodriguez was released on unsecured bail, police said.
Preliminary hearings for all five individuals are scheduled for 9 a.m. Dec. 19 in district court.
Mirror Staff Writer Zach Geiger is at 946-7535.